IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6638.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Wages, Skills, and Technology in the United States and Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • W. Craig Riddell
  • Paul M. Romer

Abstract

Wages for more- and less-educated workers have followed strikingly different paths in the U.S. and Canada. During the 1980's and 1990's, the ratio of earnings of university graduates to high school graduates increased sharply in the U.S. but fell slightly in Canada. Katz and Murphy (1992) found that for the U.S. a simple supply-demand model fit the pattern of variation in the premium over time. We find that the same model and parameter estimates explain the variation between the U.S. and Canada. In both instances, the relative demand for more-educated labor shifts out at the same, consistent rate. Both over time and between countries, the variation in rate of growth of relative wages can be explained by variation in the relative supply of more-educated workers. Many economists suspect that technological change is causing the steady increases in the relative demand for more-educated labor. If so, these data provide independent evidence on the spatial and temporal variation in the pattern of technological change. Whatever is causing this increased demand for skill, the evidence from Canada suggest that increases in educational attainment and skills can reduce the rate at which relative wages diverge.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin M. Murphy & W. Craig Riddell & Paul M. Romer, 1998. "Wages, Skills, and Technology in the United States and Canada," NBER Working Papers 6638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6638
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6638.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    4. Greenwood, Jeremy & Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 1997. "1974," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 49-95, June.
      • Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1996. "1974," RCER Working Papers 429, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    5. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
    6. Helpman, Elhanan & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1994. "A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1080, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Card, David & Freeman, Richard B. (ed.), 1993. "Small Differences That Matter," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226092836, Febrero.
    8. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    9. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
    11. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    12. Richard B. Freeman & Karen Needels, 1993. "Skill Differentials in Canada in an Era of Rising Labor Market Inequality," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 45-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
    14. Assaf Razin, 1972. "Optimum Investment in Human Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 455-460.
    15. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card93-1, March.
    16. George E. Johnson, 1997. "Changes in Earnings Inequality: The Role of Demand Shifts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 41-54, Spring.
    17. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    18. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988.
    19. Leamer, Edward E, 1996. "Wage Inequality from International Competition and Technological Change: Theory and Country Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 309-314, May.
    20. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    21. repec:fth:prinin:377 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jorge Saba Arbache, 2001. "Trade Liberalisation and Labor Markets in Developing Countries: Theory and Evidence," Studies in Economics 0112, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. Jeff Borland, 2000. "Economic Explanations of Earnings Distribution Trends in the International Literature and Application to New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/16, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:2943-2984 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 6565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rousseau, Peter L., 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1181-1224, Elsevier.
    6. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 2001. "Accounting for Growth," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 179-224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. David R. Howell & Margaret Duncan & Bennett Harrison, 1998. "Low Wages in the US and High Unemployment in Europe: A Critical Assessment of the Conventional Wisdom," SCEPA working paper series. 1998-01, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School, revised Aug 1998.
    9. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 2003. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 267-288, April.
    10. Einiö, Elias, 2015. "The Loss of Production Work: Identification of Demand Shifts Based on Local Soviet Trade Shocks," Working Papers 61, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Bresnahan, Timothy F, 1999. "Computerisation and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages 390-415, June.
    12. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2215-2288 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Gunnarsson, Gudmundur & Mellander, Erik & Savvidou, Eleni, 2004. "Human capital is the key to the IT productivity paradox," Working Paper Series 2004:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    14. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2002. "Indentifying human capital externalities: Theory with an application to US cities," Economics Working Papers 611, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2005.
    15. Leora Friedberg, 2003. "The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 511-529, April.
    16. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    17. Peter Howitt, 2007. "Innovation, Competition and Growth: A Schumpeterian Perspective on Canada’s Economy," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 246, February.
    18. Michael Peneder, 2001. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 20668.
    19. Tingting Zhang & Morley Gunderson, 2020. "Impact of Occupational Licensing on Wages and Wage Inequality: Canadian Evidence 1998–2018," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 338-351, December.
    20. John W. Budd & Brian P. McCall, 2001. "The Grocery Stores Wage Distribution: A Semi-Parametric Analysis of the Role of Retailing and Labor Market Institutions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2A), pages 484-501, March.
    21. David B. Audretsch & Mark Sanders, 2007. "Globalization and the Rise of the Entrepreneurial Economy," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-003, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    22. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6638. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.